As the city celebrates Inspiring Derby week (Monday 18th June – Saturday 23rd June 2018), Derby Museums is delighted to announce that Midlands based engineering firm IMI plc have made a substantial donation, creating the basis for an exciting new competition – the Midlands Maker Challenge.

The investment will allow the new Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill to run this innovative competition when it opens in 2020. School children, colleges, universities and adult education organisations will all be invited to take part, and submit their ideas individually and in teams. The Museum of Making will run a number of ‘ideas’ days to help people get their creative juices flowing and to tap into their inner-makers when responding to the creative challenges they will be set.

The basis for the Midlands Maker Challenge has come out of the work that Derby Museums delivered over three years on the ArtScience Prize UK, in partnership with local, national and international organisations. This involved artists, scientists, inventors and design specialists working with school children to develop their ideas and create a prototype solution around a cutting-edge theme. This work came to an end in 2015, but the learnings from the project have been used to shape this new competition.

Tony Butler, Executive Director of Derby Museums said: “I am delighted to announce this fantastic funding from IMI plc which is a real boost to the work of the Museum of Making and will give us a really hands-on way to get people involved in the rich history of creativity, innovation and making that Derby and the wider region are famous for.”

“This funding is only the starting point and we will be working over the coming months to shape the competition and encourage other industry leaders in the region to get on board and support this flagship activity which really showcases what we can do as a city and a region. We also know from the work we have done previously how this approach can really unlock people’s capacity for innovation and help us build the makers of the future.”

Daniel Shook, Finance Director, at IMI plc said: “IMI is delighted to be investing in the Midlands Maker Challenge. As a company with a rich engineering heritage in the region we really believe in the importance of fostering the skills needed to develop the makers of tomorrow.”

“We look forward to supporting the competition as it is developed over the coming months and becomes embedded as a part of the new Museum of Making in Derby.”